Great-grandpa Albert Swing was born 11 April 1889 in Cissna Park, Illinois, the fourth of thirteen children born to Albert Carl and Catherine Marie (Hoffmann) Swing. He was musical, buying a violin with the first money he earned working in the fields; in later years he called square dances. On 18 June 1913, in Peoria, Illinois, he married Lena Agnes Hunkler. As noted in his obituary, Albert and Lena had three children. The family spent a number of years in Francesville, Indiana, moving between there and various locations in Illinois. In 1951 the couple moved to Harlingen, Texas, for Lena’s health. She died there in 1964. All his life Albert longed for the flat farmland of his youth; he would say that he wished he could have been buried in the cemetery in Francesville among the Indiana wheat fields. However, Albert’s final resting place is with Lena at Restlawn Cemetery in La Feria, Texas.
Duane Farney, my first cousin twice removed, was born July 27, 1933. He was the son of Orville Farney and Lucy Hoffmann. Lucy was the youngest child of Jacob Hoffmann, born when he was 57 years old.
The Farney family appears in Fountain Creek, Illinois, in the 1940 census. Less then ten years later, on January 26, 1950, sixteen-year-old Duane was driving his father’s 1949 sedan, with six other boys as his passengers: Paul Hickman and Don Pennick, both also sixteen; Duane’s brother James, fourteen; and three fifteen-year-olds: Tom Bell, John Hertel, and Ulyn Reece. At an unguarded railroad crossing north of Rossville, Illinois, Duane apparently drove his car into the side of a moving train. The three sixteen-year-olds were killed; the four younger boys were taken to Lakeview Hospital but survived.
Tragedy struck our community January 26, when Duane Farney, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Farney, was killed in a train-auto crash. Funeral services were held Monday, January 30. Joshua Broquard of Forrest, Illinois, held the services. Arthur Gudeman of La Crosse, Indiana, prayed at the cemetery. James, a brother of Duane, was also in the accident and is seriously injured.
Usually I find myself referring to Jacob Hoffmann, my 2G and 3G-grandfather, as our emigrant ancestor. While he was the patriarch of the family, he wasn’t the first of our Hoffmann branch to arrive in America. This distinction actually goes to two of Jacob’s daughters, Anna and Catherine.
Of Jacob’s 17 children by his two wives, the last four were born in America; 11 emigrated to America; and only two, Lisa and John, remained in France. Lisa was the eldest and already married when her family decided to leave France; John was the third child and eldest son. Anna was the second of Jacob’s children and was born September 24, 1859 in Renaucourt, France. On June 10, 1878 she was married to Ferdinand Schott (a big thanks to Cousin Daniel in France for providing copies of these records).
Four years later Anna and Ferdinand, along with Anna’s sister (my great-great-grandmother) Catherine arrived at Castle Garden in New York on April 13, 1882 on the ship St. Germain. In spite of the confusion of surnames, the family is identifiable:
Mrs. Angela Hoffmann 22 F[emale] France New York
Angelo d[itt]o 1/2 M[ale] do do
Mrs. Catherine do 23 F do do
Emile do 1/2 M do do
Ferdinand Schott 33 Carpenter do do
Louis do 2 yr. do do
More information about Catherine’s history in America can be found in earlier posts here. Anna and Ferdinand (“Fred”) lived in Gridley, Illinois, for some time, then later moved to Kansas before returning to Illinois in 1888. Anna and Ferdinand had nine children in all, including Lewis and the twins Angela and Emil, who all sailed with them on the St. Germain. Children born in America were: Bertha, Anna, Caroline, Catherine, Leah, and Martha. Anna, Sr., died September 9, 1919 and was buried three days later in Cissna Park, Illinois. Fifteen years later Ferdinand died and was buried in Cissna Park as well.
Mrs. Anna Schott passed peacefully to her rest Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 9:30 a.m. at her home in the northwest part of town. She had been in poor health for several years but was confined to her bed for a period of three months.
Anna Hoffmann was born in Remicourt, France, Sept. 24, 1859 and was married to Ferdinand Schott in 1877. They lived at Vitrey, France until 1881 when they sailed for America, coming direct to Illinois.
Later they moved to Kansas. In 1888 they again moved to Illinois, making the trip in a covered wagon. It took them seven weeks to arrive at their destination at Hopedale, Ill. From there they again moved to Armington, Minier, and then to Cissna Park, where they have since made their home.
To this union nine children were born: the twins, Emil and Angela, preceeding her in death. The surviving children are Lewis F. of Shelbyville, Ind., Mrs. Chas. Kercher of Wolcott, Ind., Mrs. Benj. E. Krantz of Peoria, Caroline Kathryn, Leah and Martha who are at home. She is also survived by her husband the following brothers and sisters John Hoffmann of France, Mrs. Phillip Yost, Mrs. S. R. Stoller, Paul Hoffmann and Mrs. Orville Farney of Fairbury, Mrs. Jeff Springer of Danvers, Mrs. Albert Schwing of Francisville [sic], Ind., Mrs. Joe Schwing of LaCrosse, Ind., Joseph Hoffmann of Roanoke, Mrs. George Bauer and Sam Hoffmann of Cissna Park and Andy Hoffmann of Hoopeston.
The funeral services were held at the Christian Apostolic church southeast of town, Friday, Sept. 12, and was largely attended by her many relatives and friends.
Seven years ago Mom and I took one of our many genealogical side trips while visiting our Fairbury (Illinois) relatives. This side trip took us to Roanoke, Illinois, some forty miles west. I knew a large number of relatives were purportedly buried in Roanoke, and we found the Roanoke Cemetery fairly easily. Wandering through the rows of graves we saw a lot of familiar surnames: Weyeneth, Fehr, Schumacher, Hodel, Zimmerman. But we couldn’t seem to find any of the really close connections we were looking for.
As luck would have it, it was mowing day, and an older gentleman was at work between the rows of graves. Neither Mom nor I are good at this sort of thing, but we ventured over. Perhaps he had seen “the look” before because he readily asked if he could help. I told him we were looking for some relatives’ graves but hadn’t been able to find them, and he asked who we were looking for. A little hesitantly, I said, “Well, Joseph Hoffman…” Immediately he said, “Oh, Uncle Joe!” He went on to explain that there was a separate Apostolic Christian Cemetery near the church, farther out in the country, and told us how to get there. I never did figure out if he was really a cousin of sorts (this Joseph Hoffman was my great-great-grand-uncle, not to be confused with my grandfather Joseph Hoffmann), or if everyone in Roanoke knew our Joseph Hoffman as “Uncle Joe.”
Mom and I set off again, another 3 1/2 miles southwest. And here were all the names we had been looking for, Uncle Joe among them. Joseph Hoffman was born May 2, 1872 in Renaucourt, France, the youngest full brother of my great-great grandmother Catherine (Hoffmann) Swing, and a half-brother of my great-grandfather Paul Hoffmann. He emigrated to America with his family in 1883. On February 27, 1898 he married Lydia Hodel, six years his senior. Lydia died January 23, 1940 and is also buried in the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Cemetery. A year later Joseph married Lydia’s younger sister Emma; he was 68 and she was 60. Emma died September 17, 1957 and is buried in the same cemetery as well. Joseph himself lived to the age of 95, dying October 22, 1967 in Morton, Illinois, and being laid to rest near his two wives.
Roanoke (PNS) –Joseph Hoffman, 95, died at noon Sunday at the Rest-Mor Nursing Home, Morton, where he had lived for six years.
His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Remmert Funeral Home and at 10:30 a.m. at the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Church.
Burial will be in the church cemetery.
Visitation will be 2 to 5 p.m.; 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Mr. Hoffman was born May 2, 1872, in Alsace-Lorraine France, a son of Jacob and Annatte [sic] Meyers Hoffman. He married Lydia Hodel Feb. 27, 1898. She died Jan. 23, 1940. He then married Emma Hodel Feb. 23, 1941. She died Sept. 20, 1957.
Surviving are a brother, Sam, Cissna Park; and many nieces and nephews. Four brothers and nine sisters preceded him in death.
Mr. Hoffman was a member of the Apostolic Christian Church, where he served as a trustee and Sunday school teacher. He was a retired farmer and had lived in Roanoke for 71 years.